Because I mentioned Wisconsin few times in the story that will be posted on CHN’s website here tonight, I did want to throw some props the way of the Badgers. What a performance tonight by the boys in Cardinal and White. Honestly, I haven’t seen much of the Badgers this season — a couple of games on television and that’s about it. But the team I saw tonight, if it plays like it did tonight, can beat anyone in the country.
That’s right. Anyone in the country. When I asked Mike Eaves after the game where this effort tonight ranked among his team’s games this season, he said it was at the top.
“We played Denver at home a couple of Saturdays ago and that was a pretty complete game,” Eaves said. “This ranks in that area.”
Mark Zengerle was a man possessed out there, scoring a ridiculous coast-to-coast, between the defenseman’s legs, through the goalie’s five-hole goal that should make SportsCenter tonight. He also had three assists. In a conference loaded with All-WCHA First Team potential, Zengerle certainly deserves mention along with the Bjugstads, the Connollys and the Shores.
Goaltender Joel Rumpel wasn’t tested often tonight, mostly because of a superior defensive effort by the Badgers. Wisconsin blocked 19 shots and kept a majority of Minnesota’s 27 shots on goal well to the outside. The only blemish on Rumpel’s line — a late goal by Nico Sacchetti that changed directions about three times on its way to the net.
After losing five games in a row from the end of January and into February, that Saturday night against Denver has started a new streak for Wisconsin, which has won four in a row — three of which on the road. Not bad for a team which had won just one game away from Madison prior to the streak.
Supreme defense. Timely goaltending. Sounds like Eaves has his team rounding into shape, and just in the nick of time.